The College Graduation Service took place last week (Wednesday 12th May) in Ballynahinch Baptist Church. Due to the pandemic the numbers inside the building were limited. Students graduating from the Preparation for Ministry course could bring a guest but friends of the College were able to watch the livestreamed event.
The President of the Association, Pastor Joe Flanagan, began the evening with a welcome and prayer before the Principal, Pastor Edwin Ewart, gave his College News Update. In it he mentioned that the Niall Wiseman Memorial Fund (which was set up to support evangelistic efforts in Ireland) was being used together with Baptist Missions, the Irish Baptist College and significant input from Niall’s widow, Amanda, to create an evangelistic booklet based on Niall’s life and testimony. Please pray for this venture. Edwin also announced that the Irish Baptist College is officially partnering with the seminary in Tacna, Peru.
The College has recently launched a new initiative entitled Gospel Guardians which aims to encourage people to guard the gospel by giving towards the work of the College. In the video Mr Davy Ellison said “One of the most strategic ways we can guard the gospel is by training men and women for gospel service here at home and across the globe.” In addition to student fees it costs the College £4000 to train one student for one year. The invitation was extended: would you be able to help us? Could you be a gospel guardian?
After watching the Gospel Guardians video (which can be viewed here), the graduating students received their awards. Dr David Luke led us in prayer for them and Dr Sarah Dalrymple interviewed Benjamin McKay (one of the graduating Preparation for Ministry students) and Mrs Carolyn Younge (who has completed the Christian Education Diploma Course). Both interviewees expressed gratitude for all they had learned during their respective courses.
The Student Chairperson, David Cameron, read from Mark 6:14–44 and then Pastor Andrew Curry (Emmanuel Baptist Church) preached. He shared that Jesus knew the situation the disciples were in—they were exhausted, hungry and scared but through the feeding of the 5000 Jesus taught these weary disciples that he will provide for them even when they have nothing left to give. Despite their lack of resources and their situation Jesus used them to bless others. In fact, he supplied more than what was needed for both the crowd and the disciples as evidenced through the 12 baskets of food left over. Pastor Curry encouraged us that as we faithfully serve the Lord we must also be assured of Jesus’s love and care. He is the one who supplies our needs, sustains and undertakes for us when we are tired and weary. Pastor David Whitmarsh of Ballynahinch Baptist closed the evening in prayer.
We are delighted that 16 of our students graduated from the Preparation for Ministry course. Now we invite you to pray with us that God will provide more men and women to fill the gap in September that they have left behind, not so that we have a full College but in order that more people will hear the gospel.
If you would like to watch the service in full click here.